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News & Events:
Former NCC President Counsels “We the People” To Follow Museum’s Lead and Develop Philadelphia
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Former NCC President Counsels “We the People” To Follow Museum’s Lead and Develop Philadelphia
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Joseph Torsella
AS PRESIDENT of the National Constitution Center for seven years, Joseph Torsella saw the museum spring to life despite doubters who thought it couldn’t be done. And it taught him a lesson about prospects for development in the Philadelphia area.

“Philadelphia has suffered for way too long from a ‘We Can’t Syndrome.’ The Constitution Center’s success shows that this region’s potential is only limited by its imagination,” Torsella told a gathering of Penn Law Democrats last March.

He said the NCC had to overcome serious obstacles to become a popular tourist attraction and major museum of ideas. Initially, he said, the National Park Service was opposed to the project because it wanted to conserve the land around Independence Mall, not draw more visitors. Their objections were overcome but more bumps lay ahead. For instance, construction came to a rapid halt, Torsella related, when workers dredging up the first bucket of soil hit what he described as “almost a lost city.” The remains of an 18th century church – as well as some of our forebearers – were found beneath the site.
 
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